If you have a WordPress business website, at some point you may want help with it from a professional web developer.
And, with the cost of a professional web developers averaging out at around £75 per hour (plus VAT) – with some having a high minimum fee as well – it’s not necessarily going to be cheap but here we have some tips to help you save some money along the way.
1. Make sure everything is up to date
Out of date software like WordPress core or its themes and plugins are a common cause of things going wrong on websites.
So making sure you’re keeping it upgraded, will help your website run more smoothly.
It’s also import to check your hosting server is running the latest stable version of software like PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor – the general-purpose scripting language which WordPress is run on) as some of the themes and plugins – and WordPress itself – may not be able to run with deprecated scripting software.
WordPress will warn you in the dashboard if your PHP is out of date and it will look similar to the image below.
2. Get some basic training
Another good way to avoid a developer, is to invest some time into learning some of the basics like HTML and CSS – both are used on every website. HTML (or Hyper Text Markup Language) is the building blocks of websites and CSS (or cascading style sheets) help to style the blocks to make them look how you want.
Learning either or both of these can help you carry out basic tasks yourself, not only saving you time but also money.
3. Do some of the work yourself
Now, not every job passed to a web developer is a coding job, sometimes we get jobs that clients aren’t sure how to do, want an expert to carry out or they just prefer to spend their time on other things which is perfectly fine.
But, doing some, or all of it, yourself may save money.
If you are struggling with certain aspects of managing your website, why not get some one-to-one training from a WordPress expert – although it may cost as much as having the work done for you, at least next time you’ll be able to do it yourself and you’ll have a new string to your bow.
4. Reduce meetings
Sometimes meetings may come at a monetary cost, but even if they don’t, having unnecessary meetings stop the web developer working on paid work, meaning they can’t earn as much which in turn may force their hourly rate up to accommodate.
Another issue about meetings is that unless they’re recorded or minuted, there is a high chance of something being misunderstood or forgotten when it comes to doing the work – a well thought out brief or task list will help mitigate this problem and ensure your initial quote matches your invoice.
5. Avoid scope creep
Scope creep is an easy trap to fall into – you’ve hired someone to do job A but it prompts you to think job B might be a good idea too and whilst they’re in there…… but this usually produces extra hours of work that will need to be billed for – and which weren’t included in the original quote.
So make sure you stick to the plan – if the web developer is only carrying out the tasks they quoted for, then they can’t charge anything else unless there’s an unforeseen issue which they should discuss with you, in advance.
6. Keep amends to a minimum and be clear and concise
When you’re asking for amends to a job, make sure you’re being clear and concise. There might be a certain amount of edits included in your initial quote but if you’ve not been clear, or simply changed your mind then every amend over that quota means additional charges to your bill.
7. Don’t reinvent the wheel
If you want special features or fancy functionality, then try not to get your web developer to reinvent the wheel – is there a plugin that will already do it for you? Could it be done in an easier way with a bit of tweaking of the brief that slashes the development time?
Developers don’t always consider these solutions so it might be up to you to ask if it can be done in a simpler or cheaper way. Or perhaps do your own research first to make sure you have all the options.
8. Always consider expert advice
Of course, developers don’t know everything – and they may not know your industry, at all – but, if they d have varied experience, they may know something you don’t so it’s worth considering their opinion.
If you don’t listen to their advice then it may cost you further down the line when things go wrong or don’t turn out as you expect.
9. Check your invoices
When the work is complete and the invoice is sent over, double check what you’re being charged for to make sure everything is correct.
Everyone is human and we all make mistakes so it’s worth checking.
It will also help you learn what to avoid, should there be any unexpected charges on there. Find out what they are relating to and could you do things differently next time?
If you’re not sure what the charges relate to, feel free to ask the web developer in a friendly manner so you get an honest rather than defensive answer as they may feel they were just carrying out your instructions.
10. Take regular backups
Always take backups of your website – both server backups and offsite backups stored elsewhere.
Most hosting providers take regular backups (and most are daily) but double check this isn’t something you need to activate or pay extra for.
And, to take offsite backups, there are a range of plugins that will send you certain files by email or upload them to somewhere like dropbox for you.
Backups are a quick and easy way to get your website back up and running following a hack or an update-gone-wrong. Then you can try to get the initial issue looked at without it being as much of an emergency as some developers charge extra for a fast or out of hours response.
However, please note that this solution is not ideal for e-commerce websites with high traffic as you may lose some of the orders for the time following the backup until the restore was needed (we recommend hourly backups for these types of e-commerce websites).